Attorney: Texas loophole hides some sex offenders’ identities

A database search reveals that there are more than 6,000 sex offenders living in Texas. More than 4,100 of those individuals reside in Houston.

But an 11 News investigation revealed that there are potentially more sex offenders out there that you will never know about.

A man who called himself Mike talked about the findings.

Texas database search reveals that there are more than 6,000 sex offenders living in Texas. More than 4,100 of those individuals reside in Houston.

He did not want his true identity revealed, for fear of retaliation.

Mike said he knows of one convicted criminal in particular who is flying under the radar.

“We searched every sex offender database and his name doesn’t come up anywhere, yet he has a conviction plain as day. It’s baffling,” said Mike.

He’s talking about 49-year-old Barry Saulter.

In 1984, Saulter was charged with a felony for a sex offense against a child. He served eight years in prison.

Records show that Saulter began a 15-year sentence for felony burglary in 2002. The data also showed that in 2007, Saulter was paroled for that offense. That’s when Mike offered him a room at the halfway house he runs for parolees. Saulter’s parole officer had only one requirement, said Mike.

“Stating that he was convicted of a sex offense and I should report any strange behavior. They gave us a list of things to look out for,” he said.

Not even a month passed by before Mike said he became very worried about Saulter’s behavior. He said he documented all of it on his computer.

But when Mike went to authorities to report the behavior, he said he was told there was nothing they could do.

“They’re like, if he was a registered sex offender he’d be arrested right now, but since he’s not, there’s really nothing we can do,” said Mike.

So how could this be possible?

Former Assistant District Attorney Kim Ogg said Saulter is being protected by a loophole in Texas law.

“Pre-1997, offenders who were not placed on parole or discharged from their sentence did not have to register,” said Ogg.

Saulter isn’t the only one. Ogg said that countless other sex offenders who finished their sentences or parole before 1997 also don’t have to register.

“Parents should know that if they go on a sex offender database that’s not a guarantee that a person who is absent is not someone without a history,” said Ogg.

The former DA said she doesn’t believe that the law can change.

“You can’t undo a law that was in place for someone when they were being held accountable. The justice system doesn’t work that way,” said Ogg.

The news has left Mike worried that sex offenders like Saulter are going to commit new crimes against children.

“I tried to stop it and the only way this is going to change is if someone else gets hurt,” said Mike.

Published in: on December 5, 2008 at 11:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

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